The Four Common Pitfalls to Avoid in the BIM Process

The 4 Common Pitfalls to Avoid in the BIM Process

The 4 Common Pitfalls to Avoid in the BIM Process

Would you like to increase the value of BIM in your projects, business, and for your customers? In the last post of our BIM blog series, The Five Essential Actions to Ensure BIM Success, we listed the tasks that are necessary to ensure success in the BIM process. Next, we will discuss the four pitfalls that should be absolutely avoided during this process! Be sure to keep reading to ensure that you aren’t already falling victim to any of these pitfalls!

BIM is a complex and often fast paced process. There are many factors which can impact the quality and value of a BIM effort, and it is easy to make mistakes along the way. Because of this, it is important to consciously avoid making mistakes at every step of the process. Learn what to steer away from by reading our list of four of the most common BIM pitfalls below:

    1. Eliminate the use of Place Holders
    Eliminating place holders from BIM and replacing them with real content that will be purchased or fabricated is critical to success. Trade contractors are most successful with BIM when they can model the project, purchase what they modeled, fabricate what they purchased, and install what they fabricated. Using place holders during the BIM process represents uncertainty and a lack of decision making at the appropriate times, so aim for real content as much as possible!

    2. Avoid Beginning the BIM Process Too Early

    Starting the BIM process early can accelerate a construction schedule, but starting the BIM process too early, especially during an iterative design process, will produce rework by the coordination team. Although rework is much less costly during the BIM process than during construction, it still carries a real cost in both dollars and time. To minimize this cost, plan to start BIM at a time where coordination efforts can finish roughly 2 weeks before construction of the structure begins. This provides optimal value by allowing coordination of in-slab work (such as embeds, sleeves, block-outs, and anchors).

    3. Avoid Assigning Clash Resolution to an Entire Team

    Similar to a sports team, the BIM process needs a single captain or leader — a BIM Coordinator. It is important that the responsibility of clash reporting be assigned to this individual. If an entire team were to be responsible for clash reporting, there would be confusion over the responsibilities of resolving clashes. This would cause a fair bit of rework and a lack of clear accountability. This isn’t to say that the coordinator shouldn’t rely on the team around them to help resolve clashes, but the task of identifying clashes should be left up to a single leader!

    4. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings

    Projects that have fast schedules tend to be rushed even further by increasing collaboration opportunities. Teams will often increase the frequency and/or duration of meetings to increase velocity. Like pulling installers from the field for a status update, additional meetings take coordinators and designers away from the work of virtual construction. Sometimes adding meetings is necessary, but the team has the responsibility of making sure that the meetings are worth it.

Raising awareness of these pitfalls, and avoiding them, will increase value and limit risk in BIM coordination. Plus, planning effectively will help any BIM team to provide the maximum possible value to stakeholders.

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About Dan Cotton


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Dan Cotton is the manager of Virtual Construction at McKenney's and is responsible for our BIM and CAD modeling teams. He has been a member of the LEAN Construction Institute (LCI) since 2011 and is currently a core team member of the LCI’s Georgia Community of Practice. Dan holds a Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Georgia Tech and led the LEAN efforts at McKenney's from 2010 through 2013. Prior to his involvement in Virtual Construction and LEAN, Dan was a project manager in the McKenney's New Construction division for six years.

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